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Subject: Out of print fears rss

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quinn ortmeyer
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Hello fellow geekers, just wondering about the frequency that games go out of print.
I'm somewhat of a completionist, and if I here murmurs of a game that may go out of print, I have to fight the urge to research it, and perhaps get my paws on it, in case it does go out of print. But really, first print runs that dry up, go on to 2nd and 3rds, I,m assuming because they have sold well. But What are some games that are good, that have not been reprinted, and appear as if they may not be, at least for the foreseeable future?
I bought Mage Knight a month ago, and bought the expansion, Lost Legions , at the same time, before I had even tried the base game, because I had read it is becoming scarce. Endeavour is an awesome game, but is out of print. I'm glad I have a copy, as it's in the top 10 for me. I bought 2 copies of Ogre, because it's so freakin huge, and I didn't know much about it, but heard it will not be reprinted in that format, and thought I could sell one to fund my copy, when it is officially out of print.
Any one else have similar feelings, and make irrational or uninformed purchases for similar reasons?
 
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Jeff Wood
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The 'out of print' will become more and more a reality with the Kickstarter craze.

Games will become popular, but be very limited quantity outside the crowd-funding source before its popularity could be seen amongst the chaff. As more games are individually published, there will be less incentive to provide more printings without more up-front money.

Hence, expect more 'one-hit wonders' that quickly fade for the new shiny.
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Lucas Smith
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If a game gets "out of print" that obviously requires that many people bought it. So many people have it and some will SELL it. This means you will often be able to pick up used (or even NIS) copies of the game from private sellers. That´s what keeps my away from these fears.

(No rules without exception, I agree that for some very popular games, you can sometimes find astronomic prices at ebay between two printruns, but then the next print will follow, be patient!)

IMO
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Dave Lartigue
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There are thousands of games out there all the time. It's no big deal if you don't get a couple of them.
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Jeffrey Day
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Legomancer wrote:
There are thousands of games out there all the time. It's no big deal if you don't get a couple of them.


Inconceivable! surprise
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Bruce Gazdecki
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I'm this way to a point. I don't necessarily research every game that is going out of print, but if it's a game I like or think I will like and I fear it won't be available for a resonable price in the future, I will buy a copy or seriously consider it.
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Matt Brown
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turok12 wrote:
I bought Mage Knight a month ago, and bought the expansion, Lost Legions , at the same time, before I had even tried the base game, because I had read it is becoming scarce.


If it is scarce, it is merely between printings.
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In general, it seems that if a game goes out of print one of three things will happen.

1) It is simply between printings and will come back in 1-6 months.

2) It's initial publisher will lose interest in a second printing, and after a medium to long period of time another publisher will buy the rights from the original publisher and create a new edition of the game (see: Merchants of Venus and Cosmic Encounter) because demand is high for more copies.

3) The game wasn't that good, or had limited appeal, and is not marketable as a result. It goes down in history as a blip on the radar at worst and a curiosity at best. Regardless of whether or not it gets reprinted, any outstanding mechanics it has will be salvaged and used by another designer for a different game.

So the long and short of it is that it's pretty rare that a game goes out of print forever, and even if it does, good mechanics rarely go unused forever. You'll get your fix one day, somehow and in some way.
 
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Jay Reigns
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Sandrockcstm wrote:
In general, it seems that if a game goes out of print one of three things will happen.

1) It is simply between printings and will come back in 1-6 months.

2) It's initial publisher will lose interest in a second printing, and after a medium to long period of time another publisher will buy the rights from the original publisher and create a new edition of the game (see: Merchants of Venus and Cosmic Encounter) because demand is high for more copies.

3) The game wasn't that good, or had limited appeal, and is not marketable as a result. It goes down in history as a blip on the radar at worst and a curiosity at best. Regardless of whether or not it gets reprinted, any outstanding mechanics it has will be salvaged and used by another designer for a different game.

So the long and short of it is that it's pretty rare that a game goes out of print forever, and even if it does, good mechanics rarely go unused forever. You'll get your fix one day, somehow and in some way.


I'd add to that the possibility of...

4) Strange/expensive components make the game difficult to sell in a cost effective manner (see Heroscape/Starfarers of Catan)

5) Licensed games where the license has changed from one company to another and the original publisher won't allow a reprint of the original game (Star Wars: Queen's Gambit/Star Wars: Epic Duels are the only ones I can think of here.)
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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Ebay and the BGG marketplace have made everything available, including OOP games. The markup on out-of-print games isn't very big -- used games tend to stay less than retail no matter how long they're out of print, and even unpunched games usually only go for a small premium. The games that go for exorbitant prices are the exception, not the rule.

I've found that the money I save by not buying games that might go OOP is much more than the money I lose by paying a small premium on Ebay here and there.
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Michael Carter
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Legomancer wrote:
There are thousands of games out there all the time. It's no big deal if you don't get a couple of them.


There may be thousands of games available at any time, but that doesn't mean there are thousands of games worth owning or even playing.
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Boardgames are in a constant flux of being in and out of print. Don't worry about a game going out of print, b/c sometime in the future, assuming it's a good game, with few exceptions it'll come back in print. And there's always the secondary market.

I just recently did a tally of my 100+ games and was shocked at the high percentage of my owned games that are OOP - it was around ~25%. Even that list would have to be constantly updated, for example my copy of Wallenstein (first edition) was originally OOP but then they printed a 2nd edition 2 years ago. Or Mission: Red Planet, which has been OOP for a few years now, is just about to get an updated FFG edition. Nexus Ops was OOP for a few years but then got a new edition.

The small percentage of games that don't get reprint, the Caesar: Epic Battle of Alesias etc, well, life would be pretty boring without some grail games to seek out, right?!
 
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M M
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Unitoch wrote:
Ebay and the BGG marketplace have made everything available, including OOP games. The markup on out-of-print games isn't very big -- used games tend to stay less than retail no matter how long they're out of print, and even unpunched games usually only go for a small premium. The games that go for exorbitant prices are the exception, not the rule.

I've found that the money I save by not buying games that might go OOP is much more than the money I lose by paying a small premium on Ebay here and there.

Exactly.

About 5 years ago I bought an unpunched copy of Dune on eBay for something like $120. Sure, that's a mark-up. But it had been out-of-print for something like 30 years. And the mark-up wasn't that severe.

You're going to waste much, much more money buying things which you don't like just because you're afraid that you won't be able to do so later than you will waiting to figure out what, exactly, you want and buying 1/3 - 1/4 of it.
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Don't buy things out of fear! Although I do sometimes feel that something rare can feel more valuable. Like my girlfriend. shake

Don't hunt things down, but certainly pick something up that you find for a good deal and you know you will like it.


I've always been a fan of the original 1981 Donkey Kong arcade game. I've always dreamed about owning a machine. There were many opportunities for me to buy one (especially when King of Kong came out and people were selling their machines from popularity), but instead I waited always just keeping an eye out for one.

I eventually found a doctors office who had Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. arcade cocktail tables he was looking to sell (something about how no one plays them anymore, too many people on their cell phones). He gave me both for $500.

They each go for around $800 -1000 depending on condition.


Moral of the story? Be patient, nothing good gets away.
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James Griffith
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I think it depends on the type of game you like. The better euros tend to stay in print. In the worst case scenario, they are between print runs but in a few months or years, they will be available again.

On the other hand, if you're a wargamer, I would suggest the OOP is a reality for some of the best games. Print runs are smaller in the first place and the pool of likely buyers is even smaller for secondary print runs. As the games climb in complexity, the likelihood of second printings is even less likely.
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Tara Tallan
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It seems as though lately all the games that I've researched and decided "Yup, that's a good one for me!" are unavailable through any of my usual (brick-and-mortar or online) shops. Which I've come to realize is code for "Out of Print." Sigh. I'm not worried if the game is less than a year old-- I'm confident those will be reprinted-- but I'm not sure what will happen to some of those older titles. It's enough for me to give up on this notion of hunting down tried-and-true games and just sign on with the Cult of the New.
 
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Chris Robbins
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I fear the reprints. I want my dusty, moldy oldies to hold their value.

I just need to get 'em in some dusty, moldy hands before they (buyers) die.
 
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dan schnake
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PhoenixPez wrote:
Sandrockcstm wrote:
In general, it seems that if a game goes out of print one of three things will happen.

1) It is simply between printings and will come back in 1-6 months.

2) It's initial publisher will lose interest in a second printing, and after a medium to long period of time another publisher will buy the rights from the original publisher and create a new edition of the game (see: Merchants of Venus and Cosmic Encounter) because demand is high for more copies.

3) The game wasn't that good, or had limited appeal, and is not marketable as a result. It goes down in history as a blip on the radar at worst and a curiosity at best. Regardless of whether or not it gets reprinted, any outstanding mechanics it has will be salvaged and used by another designer for a different game.

So the long and short of it is that it's pretty rare that a game goes out of print forever, and even if it does, good mechanics rarely go unused forever. You'll get your fix one day, somehow and in some way.


I'd add to that the possibility of...

4) Strange/expensive components make the game difficult to sell in a cost effective manner (see Heroscape/Starfarers of Catan)

5) Licensed games where the license has changed from one company to another and the original publisher won't allow a reprint of the original game (Star Wars: Queen's Gambit/Star Wars: Epic Duels are the only ones I can think of here.)


I would add one more:

6) The game is a gem but has a relatively limited market. It may be highly desirable to a subset of gamers, but in the eyes of publishers, the market does not justify a reprint.

There are a number of games in this category and I believe it's a growth sector... 8) One that comes to mind at the moment is Ascending Empires. It may be reprinted someday, but the odds of that are anyone's guess.

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Troy Winfrey
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I've been on the Geek quite a while, and I fall into the collector/Grail chaser category. And, just like I did when I collected books, I tend to follow grails whether or not I'm interested in getting them (so I can recognize a Jati at my thrift ).

I felt that your real question had to do with identifying a Grail before it becomes a Grail--this is the question every collector asks. Typically, you want to look for a few characteristics:
1) The game survives "the cult of the new" and continues to attract interest six months or more after release--especially from a small group of passionate fans. Things to watch for: games that generate a lot of strategy posts and/or arguments; game discussions that have a lot of slang or abbreviations that all the fans seem somehow to understand.
2) With rare exceptions, the Grail will not be an Ameritrash game. Exceptions include very overproduced games; unusually limited or rare games (as always, but these are seldom Ameritrash); childhood or nostalgic favorites (which are often reprinted and then crater, like Talisman); or (as always) simply the best game of its type you've ever played. Betrayal at House on the Hill, by the way, is the exception supported by three of the four I mention above (it has been a bit scarce sometimes, but never really rare).
3) The game is infrequently traded or thrifted. There are always exceptions, but at the end of the day people tend to hold on to Grail games.
4) The game is recognized for doing something extraordinarily well. Goa's auctions are arguably some of the finest of their type. Merchant of Venus has been the only "Privateer clone" game for a very long time.
5) The game takes a while to "get," probably because its strategies aren't obvious. This fits in to my other comments.

So. Betting on this kind of thing is a matter of gut feelings and other intangibles. If I had to provide some examples of games that might be worth buying before they go OOP...well. Trajan and T'zolkin. Trajan mainly from what I've heard. T'zolkin is very complicated, and a truly awesome, even unique game. I have a feeling it's going to dry up and disappear suddenly one day, since it's not a game that pulls newbs into the hobby. Games like those eventually stop being reprinted.
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No.
 
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Cephus404 wrote:
smithlucas wrote:
If a game gets "out of print" that obviously requires that many people bought it. So many people have it and some will SELL it. This means you will often be able to pick up used (or even NIS) copies of the game from private sellers. That´s what keeps my away from these fears.

(No rules without exception, I agree that for some very popular games, you can sometimes find astronomic prices at ebay between two printruns, but then the next print will follow, be patient!)

IMO


That's not the issue. With the tiny print runs on a lot of these games, the fact is that most of them are simply not produced in any real quantity and they just don't make enough money for the designer or publisher to be worth reprinting. A game like Monopoly will never go out of print because it sells tons of copies. Most designer games sell a mere handful and aren't financially viable to keep in print.

The reason these games go away is because they are so niche, they deserve to.


To add another wrinkle...I suspect that the flood of KS games is going to do something pretty weird to the market. We'll see a bunch of KS titles available, maybe in very small quantities per title but available, for uniformly high prices, that almost never sell. A classic illiquid market. Why?
Lots of these games are heavily produced, and expensive at purchase. It's unlikely that the owners will thrift them even if the game sucks. It's also unlikely that they'll seek to unload the copies for whatever price will move...I suspect you'll see the "sunk costs fallacy" at work here..."I paid $150 for this thing, it's rare and in beautiful shape, it should be worth at least $110...Buehler? Buehler?" These factors will keep prices high even if nobody is buying.
A similar phenomenon swept through the rare book market in the 1980s and early 1990s...lots of people started producing tiny runs of incredibly well-produced broadsides and fine press books. (Arion Press was the notable example.) These were typically offered for upward of $1000 each, and that's what you see them for today, although it's hard to figure out who in their right mind would buy them. And, of course, most of the specialty production was of obscure, difficult, and not very good writers. (Although the Arion Press version of Moby Dick is worth knifing a guy for...one of the most beautiful 20th-century books ever created.)
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Troy Winfrey
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Or...HOLY CRAP...Ascending Empires.

Which is gonna get sold, sold, sold after looking at those prices...

Makes sense. There are very few if any games like it on the market, and it was never terribly common.
 
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As a teenager, I used to buy every album of an artist that made a song I liked. I quickly realized I had quite a few CDs that I had only listened to once and then never again. Ever since, I lost my "completionist gene".

As for games, there are so many that it is impossible to play every single one you would like anyway. In fact, I think many of the games I own don't get enough time at the table. I buy about 5-10 games each year, and half of them are impulse buys in Essen which I later regret. I simply don't have the time or the opportunity to play everything I would like as often as I would like. So it is inevitable that I will miss some games I would really love, but that's fine since I have other awesome games, too.

I don't really worry if a game I want is out of print because there will either be a reprint anyway or I can hunt it down on eBay. Or chances are I can find it at a boardgame café or among other gamers from my area so I can play it there. In the meantime, there are plenty of other great games to play. And if I really do miss out on something, oh well, chances are I missed way more good stuff I didn't even hear about, so it's alright.

Buying a game and then waiting for it to go out of print to make a profit is something I simply wouldn't enjoy doing. For me, games are for playing, they are not a financial investment. And I have to think enough about finances anyway, so I'd like to keep that away from my hobby.
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VanVeen wrote:

2) With rare exceptions, the Grail will not be an Ameritrash game. Exceptions include very overproduced games; unusually limited or rare games (as always, but these are seldom Ameritrash); childhood or nostalgic favorites (which are often reprinted and then crater, like Talisman); or (as always) simply the best game of its type you've ever played. Betrayal at House on the Hill, by the way, is the exception supported by three of the four I mention above (it has been a bit scarce sometimes, but never really rare).


I remember BaHotH being pretty rare, relative to demand, when it was OOP. It was a steady climb up in value as available copies dried out, until finally for about a year, before the reprint was announced, new copies were fetching 2X - 3X original MSRP, up to $120-$140 per copy:
http://spielboy.com/GeekPrices.php?gameID=10547
 
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PhoenixPez wrote:
Sandrockcstm wrote:
In general, it seems that if a game goes out of print one of three things will happen.

1) It is simply between printings and will come back in 1-6 months.

2) It's initial publisher will lose interest in a second printing, and after a medium to long period of time another publisher will buy the rights from the original publisher and create a new edition of the game (see: Merchants of Venus and Cosmic Encounter) because demand is high for more copies.

3) The game wasn't that good, or had limited appeal, and is not marketable as a result. It goes down in history as a blip on the radar at worst and a curiosity at best. Regardless of whether or not it gets reprinted, any outstanding mechanics it has will be salvaged and used by another designer for a different game.

So the long and short of it is that it's pretty rare that a game goes out of print forever, and even if it does, good mechanics rarely go unused forever. You'll get your fix one day, somehow and in some way.


I'd add to that the possibility of...

4) Strange/expensive components make the game difficult to sell in a cost effective manner (see Heroscape/Starfarers of Catan)

5) Licensed games where the license has changed from one company to another and the original publisher won't allow a reprint of the original game (Star Wars: Queen's Gambit/Star Wars: Epic Duels are the only ones I can think of here.)


A slightly similar example of #5 is Dune. FFG wanted to do the reprint, but the Dune license holders weren't interested. So FFG did it in the Twilight Imperium universe, I believe. This is probably why there is still intense demand for Dune and values are still astronomical.
 
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